Witness accounts seem to conflict

Balducci told lawyers in his deposition that Patterson told him Peters “had been retained as a conduit of information between us and Judge DeLaughter to influence him in our favor” and that Peters provided the legal team with copies of the judge’s rulings in the case before they were filed.

But Patterson, in his deposition, said he knew nothing of any meetings between Peters and DeLaughter regarding the Wilson lawsuit.

Through his lawyers, Scruggs seemed to discount the prosecution’s case in their response to Wilson last week in the civil action: “Wilson assumes that Scruggs corruptly influenced Judge DeLaughter in his rulings. Scruggs has pleaded guilty to attempting to corruptly influence Judge DeLaughter in his rulings, but Wilson has presented nothing to connect this attempt with actual influence or to any such influence with any harm to Wilson.”

Scruggs’ attorneys call for Wilson’s lawsuit to be dismissed, or at least put on hold until after DeLaughter’s trial. “Wilson apparently assumes that, having pled guilty to a crime, Scruggs now has an obligation to feed Wilson’s appetite for money,” they wrote.

Unless there is a “smoking gun” that hasn’t been seen, Steffey said DeLaughter’s trial turns on the believability of Peters. The judge is accused of sharing a draft copy of an order with Peters, who then shared the document with Scruggs’ legal team.

But Patterson, in his deposition, recalled no improper contact between DeLaughter and Peters. Patterson said Peters told him DeLaughter was a real hard worker and that they better research their cases right “because Judge DeLaughter will darn sure pull it and read it and you’ll be very offended if you’re stretching it in any way.”

Jerry Mitchell
Clarion Ledger